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Just a reminder to everyone who is applying this year. You had a difficult first half of 2020. We, faculty, did too. Grad students did too (many lost summer stipends, many doing international res

Hey folks, I have gotten a bunch of messages since posting my one acceptance, asking about my application process, etc. and I am happy to provide any feedback and answer questions whenever I can (as l

Hey there, I imagine that you must be very disappointed right now. My suggestions are 1. Take some deep breathes. 2. Disconnect from social media/your phone/the internet for a while. 3. Do something t

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3 hours ago, cryloren said:

What do I do now?

Hi, @cryloren. I recommend that you take two to four weeks off from thinking about graduate school so you can depressurize.

When you jump back into things, I recommend that you find ways to improve your writing. I also suggest that you think about how you define yourself as a historian. In regards to the latter, you have a wide range of interests (history, politics, medicine). That wide range may have worked against you in your SOPs. Are there ways to bring them all together as potential areas of interest?

@scarletwitch my two cents are that you would be well served by developing two or three sets of filters so you can get your current list of twenty schools down to five or six. That is, go from twenty to ten and then from ten to five. 

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4 hours ago, cryloren said:

I applied to 10+ programs, didn't get in anywhere. 

 

What do I do now?

 

Hey there, I imagine that you must be very disappointed right now. My suggestions are 1. Take some deep breathes. 2. Disconnect from social media/your phone/the internet for a while. 3. Do something that is fun for you. 4. Reach out to someone you have a good relationship with to talk about your feelings. If you like, I've shared my story below, I don't know if will be helpful or relatable, but I want you to know that it will be okay, and it gets better.

I was in your position six years ago. I stalked this board every day, waiting with breathless anticipation. I applied to I think 9 schools, maybe 10. I knew pure numerical odds were low but I believed that I had a good shot. One by one the rejections came in. I was crushed. I knew rationally not to take it personally but I still did. I felt I had everything; the GPA, the honors, the GRE, the LORs, even a national history award, how could I not get in anywhere? What was wrong with me?

Instead of going to grad school I got a minimum wage retail job and started to work. When you work retail nobody gives a rip how educated you are. It was humbling. I applied for a second round. Missed again. 0-2. I then got a teaching job and started doing that. Like retail customers, kids don't care one whit about your past accomplishments. Again, it was humbling. It was hard.  I did more growing up in one of year teaching than any other year of my life so far. I applied to a third round. This time, I got into an MA program with full funding, and so I went.

Ultimately, I am thankful I didn't get in the first time. When I think about why I wanted to go to grad school then, yes it was because I was passionate about the field, but it was also about my fear and ego. I believed I was exceptionally smart, and smart people got PhDs, so that's what I needed to do. I was also afraid of starting a "real job" and living in the "real world." And graduate school ways another way to delay that for half a decade or more. When I went back to school, even though it had only been 2 1/2 years since finishing undergrad, I felt like I had much more perspective on why I was there to do what I was doing. Having spent just a little time in the "real world" was helpful. And yes, grad school was in its own way humbling, and I grew up some more.

Round four doesn't look to be going so good for me. I have only one school left to hear from, and I'm not optimistic, but this is just how things are. I'm not taking it personally anymore. Who knows, maybe the PhD will never happen? Being professionally trained as a historian is a good thing but you don't have to have a PhD to do good history, though it is harder. There's a gentleman where I live, he worked a whole career at DNR and when he retired, he went to community college and took a few history classes because he was interested in Native history. He started doing his own historical research and eventually published a book on Native American history. He doesn't even hold a BA in history, yet his work has been utilized and cited by academics in the field. I'm so proud of him. He'll never have a PhD, yet in his golden years he is out there making meaningful contributions to the historical profession.

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2 hours ago, Mayúscula said:

I see Notre Dame acceptances went out for those interviewed. Would anyone like to share their field? And has anyone received a rejection after interviewing?

Hi! I just posted an acceptance. I’m an Americanist on environmental history, had an interview at the beginning of this month.

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3 hours ago, Mayúscula said:

I see Notre Dame acceptances went out for those interviewed. Would anyone like to share their field? And has anyone received a rejection after interviewing?

 

36 minutes ago, PurpleLight said:

Hi! I just posted an acceptance. I’m an Americanist on environmental history, had an interview at the beginning of this month.

Hi there! I posted my acceptance as well. I'm an Americanist with a focus on women and gender. I had an interview a week and a half ago. Very excited!!!

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4 hours ago, QuarantineQuail said:

 

Hey there, I imagine that you must be very disappointed right now. My suggestions are 1. Take some deep breathes. 2. Disconnect from social media/your phone/the internet for a while. 3. Do something that is fun for you. 4. Reach out to someone you have a good relationship with to talk about your feelings. If you like, I've shared my story below, I don't know if will be helpful or relatable, but I want you to know that it will be okay, and it gets better.

I was in your position six years ago. I stalked this board every day, waiting with breathless anticipation. I applied to I think 9 schools, maybe 10. I knew pure numerical odds were low but I believed that I had a good shot. One by one the rejections came in. I was crushed. I knew rationally not to take it personally but I still did. I felt I had everything; the GPA, the honors, the GRE, the LORs, even a national history award, how could I not get in anywhere? What was wrong with me?

Instead of going to grad school I got a minimum wage retail job and started to work. When you work retail nobody gives a rip how educated you are. It was humbling. I applied for a second round. Missed again. 0-2. I then got a teaching job and started doing that. Like retail customers, kids don't care one whit about your past accomplishments. Again, it was humbling. It was hard.  I did more growing up in one of year teaching than any other year of my life so far. I applied to a third round. This time, I got into an MA program with full funding, and so I went.

Ultimately, I am thankful I didn't get in the first time. When I think about why I wanted to go to grad school then, yes it was because I was passionate about the field, but it was also about my fear and ego. I believed I was exceptionally smart, and smart people got PhDs, so that's what I needed to do. I was also afraid of starting a "real job" and living in the "real world." And graduate school ways another way to delay that for half a decade or more. When I went back to school, even though it had only been 2 1/2 years since finishing undergrad, I felt like I had much more perspective on why I was there to do what I was doing. Having spent just a little time in the "real world" was helpful. And yes, grad school was in its own way humbling, and I grew up some more.

Round four doesn't look to be going so good for me. I have only one school left to hear from, and I'm not optimistic, but this is just how things are. I'm not taking it personally anymore. Who knows, maybe the PhD will never happen? Being professionally trained as a historian is a good thing but you don't have to have a PhD to do good history, though it is harder. There's a gentleman where I live, he worked a whole career at DNR and when he retired, he went to community college and took a few history classes because he was interested in Native history. He started doing his own historical research and eventually published a book on Native American history. He doesn't even hold a BA in history, yet his work has been utilized and cited by academics in the field. I'm so proud of him. He'll never have a PhD, yet in his golden years he is out there making meaningful contributions to the historical profession.

OMG. You seriously just told my story. I seriously hope you get good news from the last school. : ' ) 

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1 hour ago, dr. telkanuru said:

You're not so bad yourself :)

haha I know. so hard to believe that we started together and finished the PhD while still on this board! Along with @AP.  Hope that other regulars finish too!

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23 hours ago, Mayúscula said:

I see Notre Dame acceptances went out for those interviewed. Would anyone like to share their field? And has anyone received a rejection after interviewing?

Didn't hear back. Had my interview two weeks ago. Surprised, I thought I would make it but it seems not. 

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On 2/19/2021 at 3:19 PM, cryloren said:

I applied to 10+ programs, didn't get in anywhere. 

 

What do I do now?

I'm sorry! This cycle is crazy and many excellent applicants have to be rejected.

Take a break away from it all for sometime. Reopen the documents and re-read them with an extremely critical eye. And then, start the process again.

It took me 3 cycles to get off waitlists and every time it was a punch in the gut. Right now, it is important to do your best and get away from academia. It will help you think clearly when you return to your materials, but more importantly, everyone needs a break after an application cycle. Every cycle, I would download my documents onto a USB, give them to a friend, and then forget about them. How ever you best decompress and relax, now is the time to do it.

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Just heard from my last school (Duke) and got rejections all around for the PhD programs I applied to. Luckily, I applied to one MA program. I am accepted, but waitlisted for funding (anyone thinking of passing on NCSU, plz do ;)). Thank you for all of the advice, suggestions, and support from this forum. Hopefully I will be back in the next few years to report some acceptances! If rejections did anything, they showed me that a PhD is a serious goal of mine. So, see you later GradCafe. :) 

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On 2/22/2021 at 12:06 PM, SAM311 said:

I am accepted, but waitlisted for funding (anyone thinking of passing on NCSU, plz do ;)). 

Please read why this right here is extremely inappropriate: 

On 2/18/2021 at 12:21 PM, aco2 said:

Hey folks, I have gotten a bunch of messages since posting my one acceptance, asking about my application process, etc. and I am happy to provide any feedback and answer questions whenever I can (as long as people know that this is not like a magic potion. I'm very lucky to have gotten in, but I don't pretend to know the secret to applying that nobody else knows). I have long felt that the nice thing about this community is that it's a group of wishful scholars supporting each other and providing a little clarification where possible to the more mysterious parts of this grad application process. 

That being said, I got an message this morning asking me if I was admitted to a particular program because it was the only program the writer had applied for and they stated that they hoped to "influence the outcome any way I can." This is so unbelievably inappropriate. It makes me sad to think that members of this community are going around trying to talk others out of attending programs that they were admitted to in the hopes of clearing their own way. Deciding on a program is a hard and intimate decision, and nobody should be trying to influence each other in any direction, let alone out of a good placement. 

I am going to step back here, and won't be reading any new messages. Please everyone try to be good to each other, and supportive rather than covetous when it comes to others' admissions. I know we are all desperate for good news in a hard year, but just be kind.

 

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Hello everyone! I have a question about talking career choices on SOP. I've read a lot of the discussion and noticed a paradox. On the one hand, the production of phd's has become much larger than the number of faculty positions, and many schools are encouraging their students to explore career diversity. On the other hand, talking about any non-academic career goals on sop might hurt my chances of admission because it is inconsistent with the nature of the phd program. My question is, would a faculty position outside of the US be a reasonable career goal to talk in the SOP? This seems to resolve the paradox. But I'm not sure if US universities would want to commit resources to someone who decides to leave the US after graduation.

 

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2 hours ago, d1389jjch said:

But I'm not sure if US universities would want to commit resources to someone who decides to leave the US after graduation.

 

Why? I was always very open about not wanting to go on the US job market as an international student and no one has ever batted an eyelid. But I also did not mention this in my SoP, because I dedicated that piece of writing to current historiographical questions/project + past work + why i would be a good fit for x school. My advice for the SoP is that given you have very few words to play with, it's a waste of space to talk about your current career goals for any more than a sentence or two. Profs want to know about your project, your questions, your ideas etc because that tells them about your potential in their program. If the program is renowned for producing museum curators and you've been working towards being a museum curator for the past five years then that's the sort of thing you would mention, but imo it's not worth mentioning that you do/do not want to be a prof.

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12 minutes ago, OHSP said:

Why? I was always very open about not wanting to go on the US job market as an international student and no one has ever batted an eyelid. But I also did not mention this in my SoP, because I dedicated that piece of writing to current historiographical questions/project + past work + why i would be a good fit for x school. My advice for the SoP is that given you have very few words to play with, it's a waste of space to talk about your current career goals for any more than a sentence or two. Profs want to know about your project, your questions, your ideas etc because that tells them about your potential in their program. If the program is renowned for producing museum curators and you've been working towards being a museum curator for the past five years then that's the sort of thing you would mention, but imo it's not worth mentioning that you do/do not want to be a prof.

Thank you! I agree with your point about research questions being the most important part of the SOP rather than career goals. The reason I ask is because some graduate schools' official websites clearly require that career goals should be addressed in the SOP. Although it is usually from graduate schools of arts and science instead of history departments. Anyway, thanks for the advice about the overseas job market, it is very helpful!

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20 minutes ago, d1389jjch said:

Although it is usually from graduate schools of arts and science instead of history departments.

Information on the websites can be misleading -- try to work out what the dept wants. It's extremely likely that the adcom will be entirely unaware of what GSAS has asked for on their website, and I don't know of schools where a non-dept member reads your application. 

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8 hours ago, AP said:

Please read why this right here is extremely inappropriate: 

 

Lmao. Okay. These are two completely different scenarios. I said "if anyone is thinking about passing" with a winky face, clearly not being serious. The other was a targeted approach to someone they knew got into the program. Get off your high horse. 

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44 minutes ago, kchistory said:

Hi everyone. I have a few virtual recruitment events coming up in the next few weeks. I'm not even sure of what questions to ask at this point. Can any current PhD students share questions they wish they had asked or things they wish they had known before starting their program? Thanks!

Ask about living expenses, funding opportunities for conference and research travels. Ask if their 9-month stipend is livable for 12 months (spoiler alert: most grad students don't think about stretching their 9 month payments over 12 months). Ask about summer support.  Ask about unexpected expenses of attending that PhD program.

Also, ask about how easy it is to get mental health support.

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4 hours ago, kchistory said:

Hi everyone. I have a few virtual recruitment events coming up in the next few weeks. I'm not even sure of what questions to ask at this point. Can any current PhD students share questions they wish they had asked or things they wish they had known before starting their program? Thanks!

 

3 hours ago, TMP said:

Ask about living expenses, funding opportunities for conference and research travels. Ask if their 9-month stipend is livable for 12 months (spoiler alert: most grad students don't think about stretching their 9 month payments over 12 months). Ask about summer support.  Ask about unexpected expenses of attending that PhD program.

Also, ask about how easy it is to get mental health support.

Additionally, ask about fees. While programs cover tuition, there are usually some fees (mine amounted to about $250 even during the summer, because you had be registered to get paid. We got paid one month during the summer). 

As faculty now, the "best" questions are usually the ones that make me talk, like what's my favorite thing about the program, the school, or students; what opportunities I had to mentor students (I'm a recent hire, obviously), where have I encountered other grad students outside of our program. Usually like talking about things that make them proud :)

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